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Essay on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley

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Introduction

Essay on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley "An Inspector calls," by J. B. Priestley was written in 1946 and set in 1912. Priestley was a politician and a socialist who believed in equality and equilibrium for all, sex, race and class. Priestley had a long but arduous life, 1894-1984. He lived through both world wars, the unsinkable Titanic sank in 1912, the general strike in 1926, labour government resigning in 1931, and the two destructive atom bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Priestley deliberately set the play in 1912 because the audience watching the play had to have lived through all of this and would have empathised with him. Priestly tried to put his non-capitalist views across to the public through different mediums giving 10 minute radio broadcasts and writing articles in the news papers, however using these means, he could never be sure of his audience. He couldn't know if they were paying their full attention listening, or if they were just skimming his articles or even if they were being read or listened. Hence Priestley decided to use the theatre for his plays, where he had the full undisrupted attention of his audience. "An Inspector calls," is a play which highlights the importance and relevance of equality and social respect in the community, the story is interesting and gripping with a twist. Priestley is trying to show us how a moneyed, status freak middle class family of the Edwardian Society of 1912 acted, upon their values and their morals. The mysterious Inspector Goole reveals by his interrogation how all of the different Birling family members contributed to the suicide of a low classed, unsupported, innocent, young girl, Eva Smith, and how they have all, in their own shameful way, let her down and killed her through a chain of events. Priestley shows us how these different family members react in different ways and learn different lessons from their experience. ...read more.

Middle

This one movement causes a lot of tensions and drama. After convicting Birling of his crime, Birling and Gerald tried to get rid of the Inspector, "It's what happened since she left Mr. Birling's works that is important...Obviously...And we can't help you there because we don't know." The Inspector replied "Are you sure you don't know. He looks at Gerald, then at Eric, then at Sheila." Implying at least one of them were guilty of some sin related to Eva, causing the three of them to feel uneasy, and making the play engrossing and suspenseful. The last example is when the Inspector revealed that Eva Smith "changed her name to Daisy Renton." Gerald was clearly guilty of something when he anxiously said, "What?" Knowing this the Inspector intentionally left the room to go and meet Birling; on his way out, "the Inspector looks from Sheila to Gerald," showing the Inspector recognized that Sheila knows too of Geralds crime. The Inspector let them talk about it because it would be intriguing for the audience to see if Gerald can live with the guilt and continue trying to put a sheet over his crimes and lies, after Sheila had interrogated him, thus causing suspense, irony and drama. Even though Inspector Goole entered the Birling home as an Inspector, his actions and behaviour conveyed he was much more than that. He was always trying to influence and change the ways of the moneyed and status-freak Birlings and Gerald. He always gave moral speeches; he tried to show them how and why they were wrong and what they could do to prevent this misshapen again. However they all didn't take a shine from the Inspector; it was always the youngsters who were influenced, which lead to a split in the family. The Inspector knew this, "young ones...more impressionable." Inspector Goole always preserved Eva Smith and people from the lower classes as the victims. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later she maliciously pinned all the blame onto the father of Eva's child. However when she found out this morbid business regarded her son, she began to disagree with her previous prominent views. She is fully aware of her social status, and uses this to gain whatever she wants and shows little consideration for her subordinates. Priestley shows how the both of these disgraceful and egotistical parents refuse to accept they're wrong and refuse to change their immoral, discourteous, shameful, and unacceptable ways. Sheila and Eric are the trophies of Priestly. They both commit great wrong but the Inspector helps them to realise their mistake. They try to change their old wanton actions and learn from their experience. Both had so greatly changed from the beginning of the evening; they extensively tried to influence and convert the egocentric ideas of their parents. This was Priestleys ambition, not to only see the audience leave changed but for the audience to influence others to change. I think Inspector Goole is the perfect mouthpiece for Priestley. The Inspector shares Priestleys non-capitalist and socialist views. If any other character had played the Inspector, Priesleys ambition would have been unsuccessful because an Inspector has the right to interrogate, question, influence and criticise one in his or hers own time and home. The Inspector is very persuasive, manipulative and intelligent. He has a good intellect, uses various clever tactics for solving the case and influencing the characters and the audience. Personally the Inspector had a great affect on me and I'm sure he would have the same impact on the rest of the audience. Throughout the play the Inspectors ploys, attitude and behaviour created and maintained a lot of drama and made the drama exciting and engrossing. The moral of the play is to treat everyone, whether they're poor, of a different gender, of a different race, or diverse to you with equal respect. Be polite, modest and generous towards all humans even if they are a complete stranger. Never judge people by their first expression and be prejudice. Never be stereotype. Never discriminate. ...read more.

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